It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the 48th Annual General Meeting of Apollo Tyres Ltd. The Directors’ Report and Audited Accounts for the financial year ended 31st March 2021 are with you. With your permission, I shall take them as read.
I sincerely hope that you and your family members are safe, are practising all safety protocols and continuing to adhere to all government guidelines. Despite taking all the precautions, I have seen many people lose their lives during the second wave of the pandemic.
Please accept my sincere condolences if there has been a bereavement in the families of our members.
As I look back at financial year 2020-21, it has been a year of COVID-19, lockdowns, adapting to new ways of working and lot of uncertainty all around us. As the pandemic raged across the world, it brought in disruption for each one of us, for our families, our communities, for organizations and even for countries.
As a global company with plants in three countries and employees in many more, it was a challenging time for us as we had to understand multiple scenarios. The situation was different in each country and also kept changing fast. We could not have a uniformity of approach and had to learn quickly to live with the added complexity. I think the first and foremost focus of the leadership was to ensure the safety of all our Apollo Family members who were working in the plants, at offices and from home. Within a short time, we created an entire ecosystem to ensure that our employees could work from their homes and yet continue business as usual. For our employees working at plants,
we ensured covid appropriate behaviours were strictly adhered to and this helped us to operate without much disruption during most part of the pandemic.
The year gone by was indeed a difficult one. We
saw a long lockdown in India resulting in mass
migration of people out of cities.
As the economy went southwards, we saw
demand going down sharply. We have always
spoken about profitable growth and yet the
impact of the pandemic on the economy and our
business was such that for the first time in over
two decades, we announced a net loss in the first
quarter of the financial year.
You have known your company as an agile and a
resilient company. We were quick to understand
the gravity of the pandemic and immediately
launched initiatives to check on our costs. While
your company has been focussed on cutting cost
over the years, the pandemic saw us working with
renewed vigour to further our relentless focus
on cost reduction and enhancing manufacturing
efficiencies across the organization. The whole
year, we differentiated between Good Cost and
avoidable Cost and continued to invest in good
cost like R&D, marketing, etc and drastically
reduced other costs as we renegotiated
advertising costs, relooked at our warehousing
expenses, etc. It is my firm believe that we need
to drive unnecessary cost out of our business,
as that is the delta between a profitable and a
losing organisation in this increasingly global
Despite the pandemic, we continued with our
belief that no challenge is so tough that it cannot
be overcome or converted into opportunity. I am
sure you remember the journey of your company
and especially in 2008 when the world was in
recession. With your support, our board was very
confident of our strategy going forward and we
decided to invest close to Rs 3,000 crores for a
greenfield plant in Chennai. That was the best
timing for the investment because we got a lead
over all competitors in India by nearly 18 months.
Similarly, even during the pandemic, our strategy
of future proofing the company helped us to
commission our 7th manufacturing unit globally,
and the 5th in India, in Andhra Pradesh. We
also inaugurated our two-wheeler radial tyre
facility in Gujarat as we set our eyes on building a
leadership position in highly profitable premium
In the new normal due to the pandemic, we
continued with business as usual. We did product
launches, expanded our dealer network… but now
virtually and digitally. We virtually launched the
new identity of our product brand Vredestein and
this will allow us to position the brand, which has
a legacy of over 110 years, as even more premium
brand and take our marketing activities to the
Americas is a large market and we had over the
years been seeding the market. This year, we
launched the Vredestein brand and its specially
designed best-in-class product portfolio for the
North American market. The response has been
extremely good and we hope to make a mark
with our products in the next few years.
In India, we launched a first in the industry – a
tyre for the Compact SUV called Apterra Cross.
All these initiatives helped us to bounce back,
gain market leadership in various segments and
helped us end the fiscal on a healthy note with
robust revenue growth across market segments
However, if a company only focuses on profits
and growth, it is unlikely to create a long lasting
institution and leave a legacy for our children. For
us the belief comes from within, that without giving
back to society no business can be truly successful
and sustainable in the long run. It is for this reason
that Sustainability is at the core of your Company.
During the year of the pandemic, we left no stone
unturned to ensure that we live by one of our core
values – ‘Taking Responsibility’. Our teams across
the regions extended themselves to distribute food
and other resources to people across the country.
We will continue to extend ourselves to support and
nurture the communities we interact with.
As many of you are aware, after the deadly second
wave in India, there is a talk of the third wave. I
would strongly recommend all members and their
families to get vaccinated. The vaccines offer a
fighting chance against the virus.
Despite the uncertainty of the third wave, I remain
bullish on the strength of the Indian and global
economies. Your company is a dynamic company
and has been mapping possible scenarios for the
coming months and already drawn action plans
You know that your company does not rest on its
laurels. We seek exhilaration and challenges and
this is our way of future proofing your company.
In the current financial year, we have virtually
launched the new vision, purpose and values for the
next five years and have taken an ambitious target
of reaching $5 billion by 2025-26. I am confident
that with your support and the drive by our people,
we will reach the target.
I would like to conclude by thanking each one
of you for having been a partner in this ongoing
journey. Your support is highly valued and your
Company’s success is an indication of the faith you
have always bestowed upon us. The support that
we continue to receive from our banks,
institutions and the governments wherever we
operate, enable us to plan for the future. With all
this we shall continue to grow together as Apollo
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